Jayson Werth calls Jonathan Papelbon “The D.C. Strangler”

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Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. All bad times that are survived are transformed into better times with the passage of time. A player going after a teammate in the ugly waning days of an ugly season becomes the basis of a pretty great nickname during the course of what it turning out to be a pretty darn nice season for the Washington Nationals.

Last year, a we all know, Jonathan Papelbon choked Bryce Harper in the dugout after a week or two of escalating tensions and back biting. It was the stuff of suspensions and acrimony at the time, but now that the Nats are winning, it’s much better. To wit: Jayson Werth, after his game-winning hit yesterday afternoon, was being interviewed on the field and talked about his teammates mobbing him:

On-field interviewer: “Man, you got battered out there. What type of damage did they do to you in the outfield?”

Werth: “Well, I knew I was in trouble when I saw The Strangler coming at me.”

Interviewer: “Who’s The Strangler?”

Werth: “You know, The D.C. Strangler”

Interviewer: “Ohhhh”

Given that Papelbon, who Werth just helped vulture a win given that he gave up a homer in the top of the ninth, was leading the mob, it was pretty clear who he meant. And it’s a pretty fantastic nickname given how easily it can be transformed to “The D.C. Choker” if he blows a playoff game.

Winning fixes everything.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year deal with Astros

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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu is scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.